Joyce Cheung survives fall to win women's 10km race at Hong Kong Marathon

University student says triathlon training helped her cope with bruises after pile-up at start

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 4:13am

Joyce Cheung Ting-yan survived a nasty fall that resulted in a battered and bruised right knee to win a rough and tumble women's 10km and then summed up the reason for her success in two simple words: "I'm tough."

The triathlete and sometime runner overcame a pile-up just after the start to win in 39 minutes and 32 seconds and credited her ability to overcome the pain that followed her fall to a rigorous training schedule.

"I was in a lot of pain after falling but I used it to motivate myself," said Cheung, who finished in front of Heidi Yu Wing-hay (39:42) and Kong Lai-ming (39:59).

"At the start I think a few runners became too excited and wanted to sprint into a good position. But they weren't aware of the other runners and I was one of the victims.

"But I had a lot of belief coming into the race and training for triathlons gives you a lot of belief in your body and yourself. I really wanted to give up today but I told myself to go for it."

The 24-year-old Baptist University physical education and recreation management student has been pounding the pavements of Hong Kong since 2004, when a coach suggested running was the weakest link in her triathlons. Well, it's not any more.

"I think now it is my best event," said Cheung, a first-time winner of the 10km who also represents the city in triathlons and has done so since her first international junior event back in 2005.

"For the Asian Cup [triathlon series] we travel to events every month so we have to work hard, six days a week. Most days we swim, then we go one day running, one day on the bikes and throw in gym work, too," said Cheung. "It makes you tough."

It's little wonder she was able to brush off those bruises and once the swelling goes down, Cheung will have her sights firmly set on the All-China Games in Liaoning in September, with next year's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, looming on the horizon.

"I am happy with how my training is coming along and while I competed in the All-China Games in 2010 I was young and wasn't really at my best. This year I know I can do better," she said.

Second place was a surprise and a delight for 22-year-old Yu, a Hong Kong University medical student more used to running cross country, or 800m and 1,500m events for her school.

"This was out of all expectations," she said. "I have been really tired from studying so I told myself to just go out and enjoy myself. I have been using my training to just clear everything out of my head and today I felt really good. I got on the train at 4am from Tai Koo to come here and it was packed with people and that really helped get me ready for the race."